Teamaker: Yoshiaki Hattori
Origin: Kikugawa City - Shizuoka, Japan
Cultivation: Natural (Organic, but no certification), Pursuing JAS Organic Certification
Harvest Date: Spring 2019 (May)
Grind Date: January 2020
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Tea farmer Yoshiaki Hattori uses a traditional stone-mill to grind his matcha, resulting in an ultrafine powder with a creamy texture. Cafe Matcha is made from leaves from the 1st and 2nd spring harvests. This combines the vibrant, fine flavors of the 1st harvest with the more robust character of the 2nd harvest. Grassy and softly nutty, with an earthy undertone. Light umami. Bittersweet, with a fragrant sweet aftertaste.
Matcha is a type of green tea that is famous in Japan, but originated in China. It is made from the same Camellia sinensis leaves as all other true teas, but is ground into a fine powder to be mixed into water. Unlike most matcha, Cafe Matcha is produced in small batches from just one garden. Tea farmer Yoshiaki Hattori grows the teas with all-natural cultivation in the garden, which is unusual in Japan where many farms use conventional chemicals. He also uses a traditional stone-mill to make incredibly fine matcha powder. Yoshiaki's business partner Kunikazu "Kuni" Mochitani helps run the solar-powered panels that shade the tea plants instead of the typical cloth shading. The solar energy helps offset the power needs of the factory. This synergy has created a truly unique matcha in terms of production.
1. Tea plants are shaded from sunlight for several weeks before harvest. This is also done for teas like gyokuro and kabusecha. Because the tea plants do not undergo photosynthesis, they have lower polyphenols and higher L-theanine. 2. The plants are harvested around May 20. The leaves are harvested by handheld machine, and then de-stemmed and de-veined. Then, the leaves are quickly steamed. This is called tencha. 3. Tencha is stored at 41F (5C), just barely above freezing, until September or October, to allow the leaves to mature and age. The cold-storage process increases the sweetness and umami of the leaves, and reduces bitterness and astringency. 4. By October, the tencha is ground into matcha powder. Yoshiaki uses a traditional granite stone mill to grind the leaves into matcha powder, producing just 40-50g in 1 hour. This slow method results in a consistent, ultrafine powder, around 5 microns in size. This powder is finer than matcha produced at the large factories, and results in a smoother, creamier cup.